Jugra, A-Once-Upon-A-Time Royal Seat of Selangor

Welcome to Jugra. This signboard is located atop Bukit Jugra, facing the rivermouth coming in from the Straits of Melaka. (@ all rights reserved)
Welcome to Jugra. This signboard is located atop Bukit Jugra, facing the river mouth coming in from the Straits of Melaka. (@ all rights reserved)

There are several places in the state of Selangor, just by virtue of its name, fuels the imagination.

The mere mention of its name makes you wonder as to the origin of the word and its meaning.

For me, Jugra is one of them. If pressed why, maybe it’s because as far as I know, there is no such Malay word or name that is Jugra.

And that what fascinates me. I guess. Still does.

Anyway, a bit of research shows that the town of Jugra is located in the district of Kuala Langat and was home to the royal family of Selangor during the reign of the 4th Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Abdul Samad.

After the passing of Sultan Abdul Samad, Jugra was also home to the 5th Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Alauddin Sulaiman Shah ibni AlMarhum Raja Muda Musa ibni AlMarhum Sultan Abdul Samad, who reigned from 1898 to 1938.

Sultan Abdul Samad ibni AlMarhum Tengku Abdullah, the 4th Sultan of Selangor. Taken circa 1890. (image sourced from Wikipedia / Lambert)
Sultan Abdul Samad ibni AlMarhum Tengku Abdullah, the 4th Sultan of Selangor. Taken circa 1890. (image sourced from Wikipedia / Lambert)

From what little research I was able to do, I would think it’d be safe to conclude that Jugra is to Sultan Abdul Samad as Sultan Abdul Samad is to Jugra.

They were inseparable, it seems, and one can’t ever seem to mention one without making reference to the other.

Born in 1804, Tengku Abdul Samad ibni Tengku Abdullah ascended the throne of Selangor as the 4th Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Abdul Samad ibni Almarhum Tengku Abdullah in 1857.

His ascension to the throne of Selangor took place during a period of turmoil, apparently.

His predecessor, the 3rd Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Muhammad Shah, died in 1857, without appointing an official heir.

The grounds of Bukit Malawati, where Sultan Abdul Samad has his royal residence. (@ all rights reserved)
The grounds of Bukit Malawati, where Sultan Abdul Samad has his royal residence. (@ all rights reserved)

As is always the case whenever such an instance happens, it triggered a power struggle not only amongst members of the royal family but amongst state dignitaries and notables, as to who should ascend the throne and be installed as Sultan.

The power struggle that ensued did not seem to be able to reach a conclusion and before any further damage could be done, a consensus was somehow reached, and that consensus had a name.

With a position atop Bukit Malawati, the royal residence is well protected. (@ all rights reserved)
With a position atop Bukit Malawati, the royal residence is well protected. (@ all rights reserved)

That name was Tengku Abdul Samad.

He was not only a nephew of the late Sultan, Sultan Muhammad Shah but also happens to be the late Sultan’s son-in-law as well.

Sultan Abdul Samad made Jugra his royal seat and reigned from Jugra. His royal residence was at Bukit Malawati, where a visit to Bukit Malawati today will enable you to catch a glimpse of Selangor of the 19th century, from the displays available at a mini museum located on the grounds.

Bukit Malawati is a favourite tourist destination come the holidays, and it does offer a view to behold as well.

Keeping watch over Bukit Malawati, it seems. (@ all rights reserved)
Keeping watch over Bukit Malawati, it seems. (@ all rights reserved)

Oddly enough, one of the side attractions at the base and atop the hill is the number of long tail macaques roaming around.

The plaque narrating the significance of the Bukit Jugra Lighthouse. Its good that the plaque is there, otherwise most visitors would be in the dark to the significance of the Bukit Jugra Lighthouse. (@ all rights reserved)
The plaque narrating the significance of the Bukit Jugra Lighthouse. Its good that the plaque is there, otherwise most visitors would be in the dark to the significance of the Bukit Jugra Lighthouse. (@ all rights reserved)

They seem to be at ease with the hordes of people visiting Bukit Malawati and take their chances to grab an additional bite or two (of food that is) offered by visitors to Bukit Malawati.

As a first time visitor to Jugra, I also learnt that no visit to Jugra is ever complete without a visit to Bukit Jugra, the Sultan Abdul Samad Royal Mausoleum as well as to Istana Bandar.

Bukit Jugra is a hilltop, facing the Straits of Melaka. As you make your way up the hill, you will pass by a big Chinese graveyard. By the looks of some of the graves, it has been there for quite a while.

The view of the river mouth as seen from Bukit Jugra. Great for defense preparations in the old days. (@ all rights reserved)
The view of the river mouth as seen from Bukit Jugra. Great for defense preparations in the old days. (@ all rights reserved)

As you reach the top of Bukit Jugra, you will be greeted with the sight of the Bukit Jugra Lighthouse and as you look out towards the straits, you will be greeted with a clear sight of the river mouth.

The Lighthouse of Bukit Jugra, overlooking the river mouth leading to the Straits of Melaka. (@ all rights reserved)
The Lighthouse of Bukit Jugra, overlooking the river mouth leading to the Straits of Melaka. (@ all rights reserved)

The view of the river mouth made me look back to one of my earlier posts, when I made a visit to Johor Lama (Malaysia (Johor) : Teluk Sengat / Johor Lama ).

For me, the view from the palace atop the hill at Johor Lama is similar to the view offered from atop Bukit Jugra.

The view of the river, from both the Johor Lama fort and the view from Bukit Jugra, reminds you the importance of points of high elevations with regards to the defense of one’s position.

Another of one of Jugra’s must-visit is the Sultan Abdul Samad Royal mausoleum.

Some of you may wonder, why would you go visiting graves especially old graves of long ago royals?

The plaque describing the Sultan Abdul Samad Royal Mausoleum. The mausoleum housed not only the tombs of Sultan Abdul Samad but also of his family, notables and retainers. (@ all rights reserved)
The plaque describing the Sultan Abdul Samad Royal Mausoleum. The mausoleum housed not only the tombs of Sultan Abdul Samad but also of his family, notables and retainers. (@ all rights reserved)

Well, a visit to the Sultan Abdul Samad Royal Mausoleum gives you a glimpse of the lives of the royal family that is Sultan Abdul Samad’s.

The royal mausoleum itself is well maintained, with the royal tomb of Sultan Abdul Samad housed in a yellow structure, complete with a reminder to visitors not to perform figure worshipping rituals at the tomb of the Sultan as well as the other tombs in the Royal Mausoleum.

The plaque on the right reminds visitors to the royal tomb not to commit any untoward act of worshipping, as it is forbidden. Citing the Al Fatihah as prayer for the departed is, for Muslims visiting the tomb, commended. (@ all rights reserved)
The plaque on the right reminds visitors to the royal tomb not to commit any untoward act of worshipping, as it is forbidden. Citing the Al Fatihah as prayer for the departed is, for Muslims visiting the tomb, commended. (@ all rights reserved)

Whenever visiting these tombs of old (and new), normal and prudent practice would be to recite Al Fatihah, a Surah or passage from The Holy Quran,  as a prayer for the deceased.

Walking around the Royal Mausoleum, a look at the tombstones would also indicate the main Islamic influence during the period when the Sultan reigned, whether the main Islamic influence came from Aceh or Riau or some other centres of Islamic learning, as the tombstones would normally be of designs originating from these places.

Some of the tombs at the Sultan Abdul Samad Royal Mausoleum. The flattened heads of the tombstones indicate the deceased is a lady, whereas pointed tombstones indicate the deceased is a man. (@ all rights reserved).
Some of the tombs at the Sultan Abdul Samad Royal Mausoleum. The flattened heads of the tombstones indicate the deceased is a lady, whereas pointed tombstones indicate the deceased is a man. (@ all rights reserved).

To round-up this impromptu visit to Jugra, a visit to Istana Alaeddin or as its more commonly known as Istana Bandar, is also a must.

Istana Bandar was built in 1898 and was the royal residence to Sultan Alauddin Sulaiman Shah ibni AlMarhum Raja Muda Musa ibni AlMarhum Sultan Abdul Samad, the 5th Sultan of Selangor, who succeeded his grandfather, Sultan Abdul Samad, when the latter passed in 1898.

The plaque describing Istana Alaeddin, also known as Istana Bandar, the royal residence of Sultan Alaeddin who succeeded Sultan Abdul Samad as the 5th Sultan of Selangor. Built in 1905, Sultan Alaeddin resided here for 33 years until his passing in 1938.
The plaque describing Istana Alaeddin, also known as Istana Bandar, the royal residence of Sultan Alaeddin who succeeded Sultan Abdul Samad as the 5th Sultan of Selangor. Built in 1899, Sultan Alaeddin resided here until his passing in 1938.

Sultan Alauddin Sulaiman Shah reigned from 1898 to 1938 when he too passed.

The palace where he made his royal residence may today have the look like it’s in dire need of repairs but despite that, it still has the presence and the look of a stately home.

The Istana Bandar is currently being rehabilitated as part of ongoing efforts to preserve and showcase the rich history of the state of Selangor.

As it should be.

The royal residence of Sultan Alaeddin, Istana Bandar, now in the process of being rehabilitated as part of the efforts to preserve and showcase the rich history of the state of Selangor. (@ all rights reserved)
The royal residence of Sultan Alaeddin, Istana Bandar, now in the process of being rehabilitated as part of the efforts to preserve and showcase the rich history of the state of Selangor. (@ all rights reserved)

Once completed, it will be part of the legacy that the state of Selangor can be proud of.

And as for me, I still do not know where Jugra got its name from but after a visit like today’s, it does not matter where or how Jugra got its name.

The courtyard of the royal residence of Sultan Alaeddin, Istana Bandar. Sultan Alaeddin succeeded Sultan Abdul Samad as the 5th Sultan of Selangor. Rehabilitation works are underway to restore the royal residence's grandeur. Once completed, a Must-Visit. (@ all rights reserved)
The courtyard of the royal residence of Sultan Alaeddin, Istana Bandar. Sultan Alaeddin succeeded Sultan Abdul Samad as the 5th Sultan of Selangor. Rehabilitation works are underway to restore the royal residence’s grandeur. Once completed, a Must-Visit. (@ all rights reserved)

What matters is that Jugra has a place in the history of the state of Selangor, with Sultan Abdul Samad being at the centre of it all.

Inside the Istana Bandar, the royal residence of the 5th Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Alaeddin. The palace itself is being rehabilitated to preserve and showcase the rich history of Selangor. (@all rights reserved)
Inside the Istana Bandar, the royal residence of the 5th Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Alaeddin. The palace itself is being rehabilitated to preserve and showcase the rich history of Selangor. (@all rights reserved)

He bequeathed the state of Selangor a legacy, a legacy which included that of Victoria Institution (a centre of education good enough to be a close rival of my alma mater in Kuala Kangsar), the Sultan Abdul Samad Building in Kuala Lumpur, the state flag and its coat-of-arms, amongst others.

The royal residence of the 5th Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Alaeddin who succeeded Sultan Abdul Samad. Built in 1905, Sultan Alaeddin resided here til his passing in 1938.(@ all rights reserved)
The royal residence of the 5th Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Alaeddin who succeeded Sultan Abdul Samad. Built in 1899, Sultan Alaeddin resided here til his passing in 1938.(@ all rights reserved)

I guess, ultimately that’s what matters. The legacy of what you leave behind.

 

Date : 1 February 2017

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